Babies truly do cause a lot of attention. Many blogs ago I wrote that I would be the one standing on line at a Grocery store making funny faces at the cute baby’s in strollers or car seats. Now I am the parent of the baby in a car seat wondering why the person staring at my child doesn’t go and stare at some other kid 😉 They smile and wish to take a peak at Reagan and the reason I wish to power walk past these people is not because I don’t want them to look at my child…its simply because I am afraid of what ridiculous question they are going to ask her in their baby voice.
It’s typically the same situation. I’ll be pushing Reagan along down the cleaning aisle of the grocery store (aka, my heaven) and all is quite well. I’m talking to her about the colors that we’re looking at while in my mind, pondering what smell of Pine Sol I would like to use in the toilets or what type of pledge to use on the dining room table (I should really start a blog about cleaning) when, typically, a woman comes by in the opposite direction, we make eye contact and she has this huge grin on her face. I smile back and put my head down. Little does she know I sort of roll my eyes because I know what is coming. She’ll stop and say:
“Can I say hello to the little one?”
“Yes, of course” I respond
“Hello! Oh your new! How old are you?”
“She is 7 weeks old”
Baby talk begins “And what is your name?”
“Her name is Reagan”
“Oh, that is a beautiful name! And you are a beautiful little girl! Is today daddy day?”
That is when I typically wish to take the plungers that are on sale in the cleaning aisle, put it over her mouth….well you get the idea….My usual response is that every day is daddy day and I leave it at that. They just look at me and smile and I leave them wondering. This happens about 90% of the time we go out.
Another situation would be the same back and forth but when they are done exclaiming to my daughter on how beautiful she is, they proceed to tell her that someone at home “must really trust your daddy!”. As if to say my wife trusted me to take our kid out for the day. Or, they will point blank (in baby talk mind you) ask my daughter “where’s Mommy today?”
I get it. Its not to often you see a guy strolling around town in the middle of the day with an infant. While it wouldn’t raise a question in my mind, I guess it raises a question in others. People are curious despite the fact that people really just need to mind their own business. While I am not ashamed of who I am, I do not feel the need to announce it to the world that I am gay and that Reagan has 2 fathers. It is none of anyones business. But these people who ask these questions certainly open the door for a very truthful response. While, I admit, at times I shy away from myself, I have learned since becoming a parent that I need to be comfortable with who I am…even more so now for Reagan’s sake.
Yesterday we were in Baby Gap and the sales lady was eyeing me throughout the store. An older lady and I knew the curiosity was running rampant within her. She wanted to know desperately if I was the babysitter, Uncle, kidnapper, or what not. Once again, the same routine and the same verbiage back and forth.
“…is today daddy day?”…
“Oh, everyday is Daddy day! And at night, it is Papa time.” Than I looked right at her and said my daughter has 2 dads” and smiled.
She looked at me and I thought she was going to whip out a trumpet to call in the pride parade. “Oh, that is simply wonderful! What a lucky girl she is! She must have you two wrapped around her little finger!” and went on and on and on.
Ironically enough, I found that I was the one with insecurity. I found myself putting my head down ashamed of what someone was going to ask me. Don’t misunderstand, I feel that no one should ask where mommy is or assume that someone must trust me enough at home to bring a baby out onto the streets, simply because I am a man. That is all absurd. However, I needed to learn for myself that the more I do “come out” of the closet for my daughter the more positive of a response I do indeed get. That is all about changing peoples perception about gay fathers, gay adoption, same sex families. And it starts with those little responses.